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November 1, 2014

Kyle Flood


COACH FLOOD:  Good afternoon.  I just left a really frustrated football team right now.  When you have a game like you did today, when you have a three‑game stretch like we have, I think that's probably a good thing.  We've got to get better.  We got to get better as coaches, we got to get better as players.
I'm going to tell you that that three‑game stretch is going to be something we're going to look back on at the end of the year as one of the points in the history of this program that is going to propel us to great things.
The reason I feel so confident in saying that is because of the looks in the eyes of that team.  There's frustration, but there was never anything but love for each other.  I can't tell you how critical that is.  I can't tell you how hard that is.
I've been a part of teams that when frustration sets in, you see the bickering, the arguing, players turning on players.  We're fortunate.  We don't have any of that right now.  What we have is a group of guys that are really, really desiring to be better.
We've got a bye week this week, and it's probably a good thing.  I think it will give us an opportunity as a coaching staff to evaluate everything, then get ready to be 1‑0 in two weeks.

Q.  What went into the decision to start Gary?  What did you see pregame?  Do you think his struggles were health‑related or defense‑related?
COACH FLOOD:  I think defense‑related.  The trainers, the medical staff yesterday told me he would be available to play.  It was a matter of going out there and watching him in pregame and feeling good he could do all the things we wanted him to do.  We felt comfortable.  If that was the case, we were going to start him.
I don't think we did a great job protecting him which is why I took him out when I took him out.  I didn't think that was fair to him.
I would give a lot of credit to Wisconsin's defense.  They're number one in our conference for a reason.  We certainly knew it was going to be a great challenge for us.  They certainly played like a number one defense.

Q.  Ineffectiveness offensively, did you feel that was mainly getting beat at the point of attack or something else?
COACH FLOOD:  When you have a day offensively like we did, we're going to look at that film and see a lot of reasons.  It starts up front, there's no doubt, it always starts up front.  But I think there's going to be more than enough responsibility to go around.

Q.  Any thought of taking Guy out at halftime?
COACH FLOOD:  No, we never discussed it at halftime.

Q.  For the special teams, the blocked punt, obviously you built a reputation on blocked punts.  What happened on that play?  How disappointing was that?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure, it's one of the things we pride ourselves on.  The reason we spend so much time trying to accomplish it is because we know what it can do within a football game.  There's no doubt it's a tremendous momentum swing when you block a punt.
Up until that point we've done a pretty good job of controlling the field position.  Though we weren't very effective on offense, we were still controlling the field position, were in good shape.  That happens.  All of a sudden you lost that field position advantage and all of a sudden it becomes a touchdown.
It was a twist on the inside, a protection mistake, no more complicated than that.  We got to make sure we get it fixed.  We went through it on the sideline.
You're right, it's a big play in the game.  There's no doubt.

Q.  You talked about the stretch as a three‑game stretch.  Does it form your opinion of what this Big Ten challenge is?  Those are three of the strongest teams.  Going forward, how challenging is this?
COACH FLOOD:  Going into it we look at them as one‑game seasons.  But we know the challenge of playing three football teams like that, playing them in a row, two of them on the road...  That's the world we're living in.  It's the world we want to live in.
I think it's really good for us.  I think we're learning a little bit more each week.  I know the results don't show that, but ultimately I think the results will show that.  I think as a staff and as players, we're gathering information every week about what we do and what we need to do.

Q.  You said you thought it was mostly defense related with Gary.  Did he say anything about how he felt physically as the game went on?
COACH FLOOD:  I checked in with him a couple times.  Gary is a competitor.  I don't know that if he didn't feel well he would even tell me.
I watched him move around.  I felt good about how he was moving.  If we would have protected him better, I don't feel I would have taken him out.  I didn't feel we were protecting him as well as I would have liked to.
Chris has more mobility at this point, so I figured he'd be better to be in there.

Q.  Does the lopsided nature of the score concern you?
COACH FLOOD:  It disappoints me.  In terms of concerning me, it doesn't concern me going forward because next week will be a new opponent with new matchups and new schemes.
I'm disappointed in the scores.  We expect as a program to play better.

Q.  The last three weeks you've played three different rushing offenses.  Why has your run defense struggled so much?
COACH FLOOD:  Let me just speak for today in terms of the rushing defense.  I thought we had some opportunities to get the runningback down in the backfield.
Now, I think what we got to look at and say is, you know, one‑on‑one, how much space?  We need to get more people there maybe.  Those are things we'll have to evaluate this week.
But it felt a little bit different than some of the other games where we didn't have the opportunities to get them down in the backfield.  Today I felt like we had multiple opportunities to get him down, which was the goal.  Now we got to make sure we get more than one person there to get him down.

Q.  You started off strong against the run.  They picked it up.  What made the difference?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't believe that.  I think we played with good effort.  I thought we played with good swarm.  We have to look at it on film and see schematically is there a way we can get another person there, to make a window, space for the one‑on‑ones a little bit less.

Q.  Schematically did you make it a point to try to get another person in that space today?
COACH FLOOD:  What I said was I think we got to disrupt the runner before he gets to the line of scrimmage.  I thought we did that.  Now we got to get him down.  A lot of times we did.  But when you play against really good runningbacks, the one play you don't get him down, it's a 50‑plus yard touchdown.  No doubt we got to do a better job getting him on the ground.

Q.  How important is this next game for the season?
COACH FLOOD:  I think it's the most important game of the year because it's the next one.  It's the only one we get to play in two weeks.
I think it will be important for us as a program because it's the last opportunity we get to play at High Point Solutions Stadium.  I can't be thankful enough for the people that were there today in that kind of weather with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.  The band, the student section, et cetera, they were great.
But for us to look at it any other way as, Hey, this is the game we get to play in two weeks, you get distracted.  Goes back to my big‑picture theory on things.  Big‑picture thinking doesn't really help us.
It's our last opportunity for our seniors to play in that stadium, that's always special, although you can't let that become the focal point.  The opponent has to become the focal point.

Q.  One more win and you become eligible.  Do you emphasize that?
COACH FLOOD:  I have not in the past.  I'm not naïve.  I don't think the players are naïve to knowing that.  I think they know that.
But thinking about that takes your mind off really what you need to be thinking about:  all the things that will actually help you be 1‑0.

Q.  Do you feel good with Gary at quarterback?  No thought to make a change there?
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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